Missed Opportunities

Cathy Hurtado

"Be careful that you do not refuse to listen to the One who is speaking.  For if the people of Israel did not escape when they refused to listen to Moses, the earthly messenger, we will certainly not escape if we reject the One who speaks to us from heaven!"  Hebrews 12:25

There's a well-known story in Numbers 13-14 where God tells Moses to send out leaders to spy out the Promised Land.  They are asked to bring back information about the land:  Are the people weak or strong, few or many?  Is the land fertile or wasteland?  The spies return to camp bringing lavish fruit which they had harvested.  While Joshua and Caleb exhort Israel to take the land God has promised them, the other ten leaders spread a bad report that the land devours those living in it.  They convince Israel not to go.  Israel grumbles against Moses and threatens to appoint a leader to take them back to Egypt.

Their defiance evokes God's wrath.  Moses pleads for their forgiveness, which God grants, but He also declares that no one in Israel over the age of 20 will enter the Promised Land.  After hearing the judgment from Moses, the people come to Moses, confessing their sin and ready to take the land.  But, it was too late; God has already told them they would not be going.  They decide to go anyway, again ignoring what God has said, and they got defeated in battle.  And, with the exception of Joshua and Caleb, no one over 20 entered the Promised Land.

We, like Israel, complain and murmur.  When God asks us to do something, we start with our excuses.  "I am too busy".  "I don't have time."  "I don't know enough."  "I could never do that."  "It's too scary."  So, we, too, miss out on opportunities that God has for us.  God has given us His Word and placed His Holy Spirit in us to lead us into His will.  We need to learn to recognize His voice because the person God or opportunity God has for us may not be there next time when we get around to being ready.

Had Israel only listened to God, they and their families would have entered  the Promised Land, the land flowing with milk and honey.  Had Israel only listened to God, they would have known that it was too late to fight the Amelekites and saved their warriors from slaughter.  Had you or I only listened...we would have _______.

Decide today that you are not going to refuse the One who speaks.  Prepare your heart to receive His Word.  Ask the Holy Spirit to guide you into God's will today.  Trust God for the resources to accomplish His will.

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